Coaching Significance

coaching significanceHow do you go about coaching significance? Many coaching clients are looking for significance in life. A good place to talk about significance is around the client’s objectives. “What I’m hearing is you want to get more out of your work. So let’s start by defining the target. What would a significant work life look like?” If the client is operating out of a cultural standard for success or significance, asking them to verbalize their philosophy can be a great help. We all have inconsistencies in the way we live our values—and cultural values are easy to overlook until we are forced to articulate how we live. Often when we’re examining areas like significance or fulfillment, clients will choose action steps around prayer or Bible study to help them find out what God is saying on the topic.

Since underlying values explain why you do what you do, another way to get at them when coaching significance with a client is to ask the “Why” question:

“Why are you pursuing this goal? What will it give you?”

“Let’s say that the most significant life is the one focused simple on loving. What would need to change if you were going to make love the center of your life?”

“How does this make life better for you? For those around you? How do you want to prioritize those two ends?”

“It seems like the belief that is behind this is that if you focus on taking care of things in your own life, you’ll have something to give. Talk to me a bit about how that philosophy matches with your faith.”

“If you pursued significance the same way Jesus did, what would you do?”

“What are you looking to for significance (or provision, or security) here? How has that worked for you in the past?”

leadership coachingAnother fun way to explore coaching significance is a character study. Who in Scripture do you admire who led a significant life? What made it significant? Discussing the life experience of biblical characters often draws people to want to study those passages as action steps. Or they may want to talk to a person they look up to about what gives life meaning.

Jesus showed us that aligning life with loving, giving and serving is the path to significance. Since the hunger for significance is often what drives people to seek a coach, I want to give them the opportunity to grapple with creating a life around love instead of one around recognition, accomplishment, or personal fulfillment. It really is better to give than to receive.

A pioneer in Christian leadership coaching, Tony Stoltzfus has trained thousands of coaches, founded several leadership- and coaching schools and created a wide range of leadership resources used around the world.